Preview for the second leg of the Men’s EHF Cup quarter-finalsArticle
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Anything is possible in the last matches before Nantes

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Preview for the second leg of the Men’s EHF Cup quarter-finals

On Sunday afternoon the last three spots for the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes (18/19 May) will be confirmed and the already qualified host club, HBC Nantes, will know their potential semi-final opponents.

The draw will be held on Tuesday, 30 April in the hosting city of the final tournament.

Just like in the VELUX EHF Champions League, nothing has been decided in the three quarter-final pairings. Two first leg matches ended with a draw, one with a close victory.

Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER) vs. RK Maribor Branik (SLO)
Saturday, 19:30 hrs. local time, first leg: 26:26

Maribor remained unbeaten at home and can now hope to capture a win in Göppingen. However, the defending champions of the “old format” of the EHF Cup have a perfect record at home in the EHF Cup this season.

“I was not satisfied with my team and the result at Maribor, but I still believe that we have a big chance to proceed to the EHF Cup Finals,” said Göppingen coach Velimir Petkovic.

Frisch Auf’s top scorer in the first leg, Momir Rnic, agreed with his coach’s sentiments.

“Backed by our fans we will win,” promised the Serbian.

The German let a clear lead slip from their hands in Maribor, but the host showed brilliant character.

“Both teams start at zero and both teams can make it to the final tournament,” are the hopes of Maribor coach Marko Sibila.

“We travel to Germany in an optimistic way and we are prepared to cause a surprise,” Slovenian international Simon Razgor added.

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs. SC Magdeburg (GER)
Saturday, 19:00 hrs. local time, first leg: 28:31

SC Magdeburg are still the only unbeaten team in this competition – and the former EHF Champions League winner have high hopes to make it to the EHF Cup Finals, as this is their only chance to play in an international competition next season.

“We did not expect to win by three goals, but finally it could have been even more.

However, the decision will be taken in Mannheim, where we should have in our heads that we start at 0:0,” SCM coach Frank Carstens said.

Carstens has to cope with another severe injury, as his player Moritz Schäpsmeier broke his hand in the first leg and is out for the rest of the season.

On the other side, Löwen coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson has even more injury problems and even had to reactivate his assistant coach Tomas Svensson as second goalkeeper.

“We are highly lucky that we only lost by three goals, because this might open the gates for Nantes for us on Saturday, but we really need to improve to have a chance,” said Gudmunsson, who was far from satisfied with the defensive performance of his team in the first leg.

“It is half-time and we are below by three. One who knows handball knows that it is possible to catch-up three goals.

“So I specially hope and count on the support from our fans,” Löwen manager Thorsten Storm adds before the rematch:

By beating Löwen, Magdeburg ended a three years series without any victory against their opponent, but at home, Löwen only lost one match in all competitions in this season, against defending VELUX EHF Champions League champion THW Kiel in the German Bundesliga.

Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN) vs. KIF Kolding (DEN)
Sunday, 16:50 hrs. local time, first leg 24:24

It is “all or nothing” for KIF Kolding after their disappointing draw in the first leg. Now Team Tvis Holstebro have the ball in their court.

But statistics and history show that the tie is very much open, as Kolding have already won twice at Holstebro in the current season.

But KIF might need to replace their top scorer, Swede Kim Andersson, due to shoulder problems.

“We had beaten Holstebro by seven and 12 goals already, maybe we had those results in mind when entering the court in the Bröndby Arena.

“Now we need to switch our mode,” said KIF player Joachim Boldsen in DR Sport.

On the other hand, Tvis coach Mads Larsen is quite optimistic after the draw in the first leg.

“This result meant a lot to us. After we had been eliminated from the domestic semi-finals, the EHF Cup is our only chance to grab a trophy now.

“The draw was hopefully the first part of taking revenge against KIF after our recent defeats,” said Larsen.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor